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Thread: Sol 27 Spirit Update and Sol 7 Opportunity Update (more good news)

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    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Sol 27 Spirit Update and Sol 7 Opportunity Update (more good news)

    JCOS and others have asked me, why are the rovers limited to 90 days of operational time on Mars? I finally learned why the warranty is set for 90 days.

    Mars is a dusty planet, with lots of dust storms. The rovers are solar powered with their solar panels pointing upwards toward the sky. All this dust on mars collects and sticks to the solar panels. So over time they have a reduction in the power for the rover because the dust is blocking the solar panels. Eventually it becomes so bad that it isn't enough power to run the rovers. It is important to note that this is basically like a warranty on the vehicle.

    In fact Pathfinder lasted 3 times past its expected life time. They are confident these rovers will also have a few more months past the 90 days that they will get full use out of them. It is one of those things that only time will tell.


    Sol 27 Spirit Update:

    Spirit is doing MUCHO BETTER. They have now collected some new hazard cam images, pan cam color images and scientific data on Adirondack from Spirit! This is great news. They are planning to delete more files on the flash memory and probably format it. They are hoping to RAT Adirondack in about 3 days, which is great news. Once they can get the flash memory to work then the rover will be in full operational mode.

    A quote from Today's Spirit Update:

    Spirit Getting Back to Business Scientists say Adirondack is volcanic based on first microscopic image and first Mössbauer spectrum. New pancam images of Spirit's next potential rock targets: "Cake" and "Blanco."
    Here is some new pictures taken from Spirit only yesterday! http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...cam-B006R1.jpg You can see the sun dial used to calibrate the cameras, and the sun in the top right picture to calibrate the rovers position. The two rocks below are the rovers next target.

    All the latest Spirit Images are here! http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...20040130a.html

    The first and second picture are of the rock Adirondack. THe third picture is a shot taken with the micro camera. The second picture from the bottom, the Graph is the most interesting data yet taken on a rock on Mars. Specifically from Adirondack. If you are a geologist or physics person you will recognize the minerals and chemical makeup of this rock. You will find that its a volcanic rock. The measurements taken are the most detailed ever taken on the surface of a rock on Mars. Once they dig into it with the RAT tool they will then take readings of the rock beneath the surface.

    So good things happening with Spirit again.


    Sol 7 Opportunity Update:

    Another healthy day for Opportunity. The rover is completely standing up and locked in place for driving. They have deleted the cruise files off of Opportunity which they believe was the cause for Spirit's problems. They plan to egress tomorrow night! This is awesome. They will do some stuff on the soil, then head to the outcrop of rocks.

    Today's Opportunity pics can be found here: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...20040130a.html

    The first animation shows what they did with the back pedal, lowering it to even out the rise in the front of the lander. The two bottom pics are topogrophy maps of the Crater the rover is in.

    So some good stuff for Opportunity happening as well.

    On Saturday January 31st, (tomorrow) there will be Live coverage of Opportunity's egress.

    NASA TV coverage of Opportunity egress, Saturday, January 31
    Tentative time: Commentary 3:00 am PST Press Briefing 4:15 am PST (+8 UTC)
    That will be fun to watch.

    As always latest info and pics can be found here: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
    Last edited by Brent; 01-30-04 at 01:31 PM.
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    bump, all the pics and info is uploaded now
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Elite Member BaLa's Avatar
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    couldn't they install some-type of device to wipe-off the solar panels? (similar to windshield wipers LMAO)?

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    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John
    This was a cool article I read in Fortune today
    yep, distance is a problem, there is no real time instant communication with radio signals because of the distance

    luckily these rovers have cool AI routines, they can see the environment around them, they have the ability to override what command tells them if say the commands told them to drive over a cliff, the rover would say, no way, stop, and ask command what's up, they can also detect rocks in their path and steer around them
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BaLa
    couldn't they install some-type of device to wipe-off the solar panels? (similar to windshield wipers LMAO)?
    maybe in future long term missions hehe

    for now 90 days is sufficient, and actually it'll prolly last longer, remember, pathfinder lasted 3 times its intended life span, and these rovers are much more robust than pathfinder, they have bigger batteries etc...

    all the data collected will take years and years for scientists to study anyways, so its all good

    if we ever send a manned mission to Mars all we have to do is go wipe off the dust and the rovers will work again
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Elite Member BaLa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brent
    if we ever send a manned mission to Mars all we have to do is go wipe off the dust and the rovers will work again
    LOL
    that would be interesting...
    I'm assuming this will be 10+ yrs from now..

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    Morterator Immortal's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BaLa
    LOL
    that would be interesting...
    I'm assuming this will be 10+ yrs from now..
    I'd say more like 40...

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    Elite Member BaLa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Immortal
    I'd say more like 40...
    40 > 10?


  9. #9
    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Immortal
    I'd say more like 40...
    It's all guesses at this point, but sometime in the future of man kind, (if we haven't blown ourselves up by then) man WILL land on Mars.
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Morterator Immortal's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brent
    It's all guesses at this point, but sometime in the future of man kind, (if we haven't blown ourselves up by then) man WILL land on Mars.
    Yeap, We'll shoot a corpse at it and claim we've landed!

    Who said it'll be alive eh? heh

  11. #11
    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Immortal
    Yeap, We'll shoot a corpse at it and claim we've landed!

    Who said it'll be alive eh? heh
    Immy, your thought patterns sure are strange, but entertaining
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    SG Enthusiast koldchillah's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BaLa
    couldn't they install some-type of device to wipe-off the solar panels? (similar to windshield wipers LMAO)?
    good question.

    The extra power requirement in adding/operating another mechanical device to the rover may have been too great to justify such a tool. They probably couldn't guarantee its effectiveness in such a harsh environment. :::shrugs:::
    "Nobody's invincible, no plan is foolproof, We all must meet our moment of truth." - Guru

  13. #13
    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    one thing to note is that even by swipping with rubber may not get all the dust off

    the dust acts in like an electrostatic capacity, and actually sticks to the solar cells, getting down in the all the grooves and stuff, you may have to add water or a sprayer to them to turn it into mud and then wipe it off

    obviously not an option for this rover
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

  14. #14
    SG Enthusiast koldchillah's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brent
    the dust acts in like an electrostatic capacity, and actually sticks to the solar cells, getting down in the all the grooves and stuff, you may have to add water or a sprayer to them to turn it into mud and then wipe it off
    or just plain freezes all over the rover b/c of the extreme cold temperatures... I wonder if we could even contain water in that environment.. I'm thinking it would break apart and freeze as it disentigrated upwards into the air.. er.. lack there of. lol.. would be cool to watch.
    "Nobody's invincible, no plan is foolproof, We all must meet our moment of truth." - Guru

  15. #15
    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by koldchillah
    or just plain freezes all over the rover b/c of the extreme cold temperatures... I wonder if we could even contain water in that environment.. I'm thinking it would break apart and freeze as it disentigrated upwards into the air.. er.. lack there of. lol.. would be cool to watch.
    there is air on Mars, just not the breathable kind
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

  16. #16
    Flip Chip Qwijib0's Avatar
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    What about some sort of roll of celophane that rolls across the top, and is automatically rolled when the voltage output of the panels reach a certain level.
    If your browser can't read unicode, you should probably switch!

  17. #17
    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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